Doctors warn of the phenomenon of missed medical appointments

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The difficulties of access to care are known, there is a lack of “medical time”… and we are wasting it: this paradox has just been raised by the National Council of the Order of Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine which, in a joint press release dated January 27, posted their “deep concern” It front of “serious consequences” raised by missed medical appointments. In other words, by the “rabbits”according to the established expression.

A phenomenon that seems to them “steady increase”write the two bodies, citing a compilation of figures (most of them come from previous field surveys, ordinal or trade union) which, at a time when six million French people do not have a doctor, take a particular terrain.

“Each week, 6% to 10% of patients do not show up for their appointment, which corresponds to a loss of consultation time of nearly two hours per week for the doctor, regardless of the discipline and, by extrapolation, nearly 27 million appointments not honored per year”, can we read under their signature. Nearly two-thirds of these no-shows are for a first date.

With, as a result, access to a doctor hindered for the “patients who really need it, emphasizes Professor Patrice Tran Ba ​​Huy, honorary president of the National Academy of Medicine. Because what do people without an appointment do? They go to emergency services, which are already overwhelmed, for care that does not always require it. It is a vicious circle that we must break urgently. »

At all levels of the system

“This would help solve part of the problem of access to care, abounds Jean-Philippe Platel, president of the departmental council of the North of the order of doctors. By redirecting the lost supply of appointments to other patients, the pressure on the healthcare system would be reduced. » In his department, a 2022 survey estimated 7.6% of appointments not honored, all exercises and specialties combined.

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“Doctors tell us that they manage to catch up about 15%, says Doctor Platel, because another patient is waiting or because an emergency arises… But 85% are wasted. It is a waste of luck, and it is experienced by the colleagues as a lack of consideration that feeds the feeling of devaluation…”

The alert sounds in a context in particular: the city medicine unions are in the process of renegotiating their remuneration and working conditions for the next five years. But the same observation is made at all levels of the health system – among liberal, hospital and salaried doctors. On January 6, Emmanuel Macron had promised that a “work will be[it] engaged with Medicare” to to “empower” patients and “eliminate this dead loss of medical time”.

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